Official: Abbas to ask EU to help create alternative to U.S.-led peace process

“I don’t think the Europeans believe that much of anything will come out of Trump’s peace plan.”

January 21, 2018 19:26
2 minute read.
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deliver a press stateme

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deliver a press statement after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 22, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask European foreign ministers to assist in creating a multilateral mechanism for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, a senior Fatah official said on Sunday.

Abbas is scheduled to deliver a speech to foreign ministers of the European Union’s 28 member states on Monday and hold discussions with them as a part of a three-day visit to Brussels.

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“The president will request that the European countries help in creating an alternative to American sponsorship of the peace process,” Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad, who met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris earlier this month, told The Jerusalem Post. “He will ask that they support the establishment of a new mechanism for the peace process in which many parties in the international community participate.”

In early December, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to the city, breaking with decades of American foreign policy.

Since Trump announced his Jerusalem moves, Abbas has said on multiple occasions that the Palestinians will no longer work with an American-sponsored peace process and will not accept any forthcoming US peace plan.

White House officials have said they are working on a peace plan and expect it will appeal to the Palestinians.

For its part, Israel has said it will only accept the US as an interlocutor in the peace process.

Ahmad also dismissed the possibility that European foreign ministers would pressure Abbas to seriously consider a future American peace plan.

“I don’t think the Europeans believe that much of anything will come out of Trump’s peace plan,” he said. “So I don’t think they will do that to us.”

Last week, Channel 10 reported that French Deputy National Security Adviser Aurélien Lechevallier recently met with Palestinian officials in Ramallah and asked them to take a serious look at Trump’s peace plan when it is released.

“The plan might have things you don’t like but maybe it will also contain interesting and positive things for you. It will be a shame if you throw the plan to the trash even before you received it. Read it first and then decide if you want to say no,” Lechevallier reportedly told the Palestinian officials.

Ahmad added that Abbas will also ask the European foreign ministers to request that their governments recognize “the State of Palestine.”

“Abbas will certainly ask them to recognize the State of Palestine along 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. “We believe that any country that wants the two-state solution should recognize two states, including the State of Palestine.”

Some 136 countries have recognized a Palestinian state, including eight EU member states. But the EU’s most powerful countries, including France and Germany, have not made such a move.

During his visit to the EU capital, Abbas is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, and Charles Michel, the Belgium prime minister, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

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